Skip to main content
Icons of Progress

Blue Gene

No product, idea, or achievement is possible without our most critical asset—the collective thought capital of hundreds of thousands of IBMers. The expertise, technical skill, willingness to take risk and overall dedication of IBM employees have led to countless transformative innovations through the years. Meet team members who contributed to this Icon of Progress.

  • Dr. Paul M. Horn 

    Paul Horn

    Under Dr. Paul M. Horn’s leadership as senior vice president and director, IBM Research produced an unmatched string of technological breakthroughs, including the chess-playing supercomputer Deep Blue, the world's first copper chip, the giant magneto-resistive head (GMR) and strained silicon—a discovery that allows chips to run up to 35 percent faster. A solid state physicist by training, Horn also led IBM Research in the development of IBM Blue Gene. He challenged his team to come up with the next big thing that would make an impact the way Deep Blue had. His team came up with a project to build the fastest computer in the world. Then he brought together software and systems groups to create a distinctly cross-disciplinary project that would have a profound impact on IBM and the deep computing industry.

  • Alan Gara 

    Alan Gara

    Alan Gara was chief system architect for the three generations of Blue Gene supercomputers. As technical project leader and chief system architect for the Blue Gene systems design, he not only conceived the low power Blue Gene design, but was the driving force behind its realization. He identified power consumption and reliability as two of the primary constraints on the continued scaling of supercomputing architecture, something now widely recognized in international plans for exascale computing. He then created a design based on low-power system-on-a-chip (SoC) nodes, with dense packaging and multiple interconnection networks that scaled beyond anything previously envisioned. An IBM Fellow at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center since 2006, Dr. Gara now leads IBM's exascale system research. He has received two Gordon Bell awards in 1998 and 2006 for his scientific work in supercomputing. He was also awarded the IEEE Computer Society's 2010 Seymour Cray Award for his "innovations in low power, densely packaged supercomputing systems."

  • Ambuj Goyal 

    Ambuj Goyal

    Ambuj Goyal joined IBM in 1982 as a research staff member at the T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, N.Y. In 1999, when Dr. Horn presented his challenge, Dr. Goyal was head of computer science for IBM Research. He became involved in the initial planning and scope of the project, and its announcement on December 6, 1999. Dr. Goyal was named general manager of Systems and Technology Group’s Development and Manufacturing organization in January 2010, and now leads the IBM team charged with the advanced engineering and development required to build the foundation for smarter planet solutions. He has authored more than 25 articles in various fields and has received five Outstanding Innovation awards from IBM for his work. He was elected an IEEE Fellow for his contributions to the theory and practice of highly dependable systems, and elected an ACM Fellow in recognition of outstanding technical and professional achievements in the field of information technology.

  • William Pulleyblank 

    William Pulleyblank

    Bill Pulleyblank was head of mathematical sciences at IBM Research in 1999. He was responsible for leading the Blue Gene project on a day-to-day basis, overseeing work that was being done by scientists across many areas of IBM Research. Today, he is the vice president of the Center for Business Optimization within IBM Global Business Services, which is leading the development and deployment of high-powered optimization and analytic capabilities. His job is to link the geniuses from IBM Research with IBM's clients to put mathematical algorithms to work solving critical business and societal problems.

  • Paul Coteus 

    Paul Coteus

    Dr. Paul Coteus was one of the first IBM researchers to become involved in the Blue Gene project. Shortly before the Blue Gene announcement, Dr. Coteus had engaged contacts at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in a conversation about funding his work on developing higher-speed communications between microprocessors. After the Blue Gene announcement came out, LLNL contacted him, offering to fund the communications project—and the development of the supercomputer.

  • David Yaun 

    David Yaun

    David Yaun was director of communications at IBM Research in 1999. Culminating a four-year strategy to re-establish IBM’s pre-eminence among corporate, university and government labs, he and his team orchestrated the aggressive global announcement strategy for the “world’s first petaflop-scale computer.” His contributions include naming “Blue Gene” and working with research leaders to identify key attributes and capabilities that would attract the respect of the global scientific community while generating excitement among the general population. This aggressive strategy paid off with coverage of Blue Gene in thousands of media outlets ranging from IEEE Spectrum and R&D Magazine to Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” and Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show.”

  • Maria Eleftheriou 

    Maria Eleftheriou

    Maria Eleftheriou is a research staff member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. While at IBM, she has been working mainly on the Blue Gene project. In particular, she has contributed in the design and the implementation of parallel algorithms and parallel programming models, and studied the performance of parallel scientific applications for the Blue Gene/L architecture. Another area of interest is large scale simulations addressing questions of biological interest, particularly in the area of protein folding. Maria Eleftheriou received her master's degree in engineering in 1995 and PhD. in theoretical/computational chemistry in 1999 from Brown University. After graduating, she worked briefly as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University in the BioMolecular simulation center. In addition to her work with Blue Gene, she currently chairs IBM Research’s community at Watson Research Center of technical women called the Watson Women’s Network (WWN). Dr. Eleftheriou also serves as Research IBM Campus Relationship Manager for Brown University.